With the first Psya1 exam now out the way (on May 13th) we now look forward to Psya2 for this Psychology A level which is due shortly after. The Psya1 paper was a nice paper so lets hope the Psya2 paper is just as favourable!
Lets take an overview of what’s in the paper.
This unit is structured similar to Psya1 with some slight differences. There’s no research methods section and you can actually get more than one 12-mark essay question.
I personally think this paper is easier than Psya1 and the concepts not that difficult to learn as there’s no numbers involved and its all written based; I managed 90% with 6 weeks revision from start to finish so it’s definitely possible for yourself to do well too. Below is what the Psychology Psya2 paper consists of:
The paper breaks down into 3 main chapters with the first being Biological Psychology and how the mind can influence the body, specifically through stress. The second chapter looks at Social Psychology and Influence. This looks at how people are influenced by other people, particularly in conforming or disobeying. The third chapter is Individual differences and Psychopathology. This looks at abnormalities in people’s behaviours and tries to offer explanations for this through two of the main approaches used in psychology; Psychological explanations and the Biological explanations for behaviour. This will feature heavily in A2 so getting a good grip of them in this paper is important as this will make things easier later on.
In total there’s approximately 30 things to remember for this paper. Doesn’t sound like a lot does it? That’s because for an AS paper worth a quarter of your total A level, it really isn’t. With a good revision technique it’s possible to learn all this very easily.
A good way to practice this paper is to check out the AQA Psychology past papers here. Download the Psya2 past papers as well as the mark schemes for them and practice them over and over cross-comparing your answers until your score begins to improve. My first attempt was terrible just like when I started my Psya1 revision so don’t worry if yours isn’t great either. Over the coming days, provided you practice them enough, you will start to see a steady improvement.
Your best bet is to next try and be able to write all the possible sections as model essays worth 12 marks as there can be two possible 12 markers in this exam. If you can form a well-balanced 12-mark essay for each bullet pointed section in Psya2 with enough Ao1 (theory) and enough Ao2 (evaluation) you should be able to answer the smaller questions this paper throws at you too. Scaling down your answers is easier than scaling up as you can’t recall something you don’t know but you can strip away unwanted theory or evaluation.
If you’re struggling this Psya2 revision book will help for this unit. There’s a model essay for every single possible question within the specification. The exam may mix and match some elements but that book has all the A01 and A02 you need as nothing else can be asked outside the specification.
Practice writing and re-writing the 12 mark essays for each section while practicing the past papers repeatedly. This is by far one of the most efficient ways to begin absorbing the information. You do need to grasp the theory too and a good book such as the Complete Companion books will help towards this however when it comes to actually putting pen to paper for ao1 and ao2 you need the Psya2 revision book mentioned above.
Most importantly don’t leave revision for this paper last minute – usually it follows a week or two after Psya1 and people can get complacent with it so start early. It’s easier this way to boost your marks in preparation for the dreaded A2 essay based exams, which will frighten you. But more on that later!
About the author: Saj Devshi
Saj Devshi is a former self-taught A* student who now runs a psychology revision blog dedicated to helping students achieve the same. Over 3000 of his books are now used by students and teachers all over the UK. You can catch him on his AQA Psychology blog here.